A few reflections as we amble contentedly towards the end of our 10,000 steps a day Walk for Water challenge*:
1) It’s actually pretty easy to walk 10,000 steps a day. Except on the days when it isn’t.
2) Because sometimes even I, ardent evangelist for walking, ‘just don’t feel like it’. Of course there have been some exquisite days: bright cool mornings when everything is new and hopeful... late afternoons when golden sunlight colours the winter faded trees in tangerine... and ‘after-the-storm’ indigo skies. But there have also been howling-wind-and-driving-rain days when a walk is less tempting and I’d rather just get on with my growing pile of things to do...
3) Those are the days when it feels like I don’t really have that spare hour. It can be a struggle to extricate myself from whatever task I’m engrossed in. The time cost feels too high.
4) And even when I’ve carved out a chunk of time for walking, meticulously planning my work around it, something ‘crops up’ that steals me away. Then I have to resort to bitty morning and evening walks plus late night tap dancing in the kitchen to make up my steps! (Oh yes!)
5) And, although walking has always energised me and been my respite, after a couple of weeks, instead of feeling bright-eyed, I felt strangely drained and exhausted. And weirdly hungry.
6) However, despite those minor moans, I can normally cover my 10,000 steps even on a busy day with a couple of local walks because it turns out that...
7) ...I walk literally thousands of steps every day just pottering around my house. Thousands. Going upstairs with washing then back down to pick up the dropped sock. Popping up to see if my office-bound-husband wants a cuppa, then back down and up again. Popping upstairs for... what was it? What did I come up here for...? Then back downstairs (where – of course - I remember, and then have to go back up).
Oh yes, and taking upstairs ALL those things that belong there but have ended up on the lounge table. (Why? Why does everything end up there?).
8) As a human being, that feeling of ‘having to do something’ is always a tough one but I’m aware that every time I walked, I did have a choice. And some people don’t. Some people would also love to just get on with their work, but they need water and have to walk for it. Some people walk a lot more than 10,000 steps and carry something far heavier than a laundry basket. Some people have dreams but will never find the time to achieve them because they spend hours every day walking for something that we take for granted. Work-wise, they will never be able to compete with those for whom water flows freely.
9) So, I’m glad it hasn’t been plain sailing for me. I’m glad there were days when I had an internal struggle between ticking off a deadline and doing my steps...and reluctantly chose the steps. I needed those tougher days to even begin to comprehend in some microscopic way just how very hard life is for others. The fact that some people do double this every day just to survive is mind-blowing.
10) So I have kept walking for them. I think of them as I walk and I’m painfully, brutally aware, that all the little niggles I’ve had are multiplied into full blown life-limiters for them.
Oh, and one last thing...
11) Apparently steps are still steps even if you don’t capture them on your phone!
*A few Walk for Water facts
Walk for Water is a CAFOD fundraising initiative with the aim of ending water poverty by providing accessible water sources.
The 10,000 steps a day I’ve been doing is around five miles.
Many people in the developing world have to walk ten miles a day – double what I’ve been doing - just to get water to survive.